NASCAR: Another Hendrick Motorsports driver out with an injury

Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Just two races after Chase Elliott returned, Hendrick Motorsports have lost Alex Bowman for at least the next three NASCAR Cup Series races.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman was injured in a sprint car crash on Tuesday night, leaving him with a fractured vertebra. As a result, he has been ruled out from NASCAR Cup Series competition for the next “three to four weeks”.

JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry, who took over behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet for five of the six races which Chase Elliott missed with a fractured left tibia, is set to be back with Hendrick Motorsports as Bowman’s replacement for the next few weeks.

Berry’s second stint as a Hendrick Motorsports replacement driver is set to begin in this Sunday afternoon’s race at Dover Motor Speedway.

The important thing is that Bowman is in good spirits and is feeling “ok” as he turns his focus to “healing and resting”.

This marks Bowman’s second extended absence since last fall, when he missed five races with concussion-like symptoms after a hard wreck at Texas Motor Speedway.

If Bowman misses three weeks, that would also put him out for the race at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, May 7 and the race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 14.

As a full-time driver who won a race last year, Alex Bowman is eligible to compete in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

But with that race scheduled for Sunday, May 21, he may not be medically cleared in time; it will all depend on his recovery, and that is different for everybody. No contingency plan has been announced by Hendrick Motorsports for the No. 48 Chevrolet if he isn’t able to compete in this race.

Should Bowman be out for four weeks, that would set him up to return for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28.

The 30-year-old Tucson, Arizona native will likely be granted a playoff waiver, given NASCAR’s past decisions on playoff waivers when it comes to drivers unexpectedly forced to miss a handful of races. This would keep him eligible to qualify for the playoffs, should he manage to do so by either winning a race or being high enough in the point standings (or both).

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Bowman currently sits in a ninth place tie in the point standings, though he would be just one point behind leader Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing in second if not for a 60-point penalty he was issued after the race at Richmond Raceway. Earlier this season, he led the standings for the first time in his Cup Series career.